Thursday, 23 June 2016

Thumbs Up from Reluctant Convert to Crowd Funding–by Ruth Bonetti

After a year of the submit–reject–tweak–resubmit wash cycle I felt wrung out. 

Main house publishers have the distribution channels sorted. I’m an indie publisher of six titles. But it's a stretch to fund and distribute two more books.

Son Paul crowdfunded his second album, with excellent success.
“Too hard!” I whimpered. “Lots of work...OK, I’ll do it.”

Already I had relevant YouTube videos. Paul scripted suggestions for voice over snippets that I recorded on Sound Studio. He edited it down to 2 minutes plus for upload. 

We brainstormed the “rewards” offered in return for support; books of course, and launch invitations, but also eye-catching gingerbread and heritage wreaths.

How long should the campaign last? 40 days, suggested a friend. Done.
Ready for lift off. Press “Launch.”
Paul tipped me off to have some people primed ready to pledge at the outset. This signals “Success! Back her.” I felt driven because with crowd funding there’s no income if one falls short of the target. 

Whirlwind pace. Presto.
Put out the word, staccato. Personalised is best.
  • Emails: write a basic spiel, cut and paste with various slants. Click resend, change address. To simplify the process, I went through the baby names book, starting with “Dear Anne”. That meant just a change of email address. Next to Annette, then Angela and on through my data base. Until I ran out of time.
  • Facebook: posts to existing groups; explore and join target groups.
  • Direct messenger. Again, cut and paste.
  • Twitter: “My next follower will take me to the 1000 and receives a free book.” Liberal use of any hashtags that might cast a wider net.
  • Blogs.
  • Email campaigns, targeted to my various groups. One to music educators brought pledges from unlikely directions like China. Though my next books are different genres of historical biography, people said they’d been helped by my earlier ones and wanted to support my initiative. 
Social media drove such a campaign. It attracted people around the world,  like Finland and Sweden, that I could not have reached through my existing networks. 

The 40 days were a blur. Apologies to those who received multiple invitations. Forgive me, I knew not what I’d done. 

Gnawed fingernails. Then pledges came in. At times the pace stalled, as I’d been warned. But, with wonderful help from friends and writing colleagues we reached the target at half time. Now what? Anti-climax?

Pozible, who hosted my campaign, offered 15-minute phone advice. My contact person suggested a “stretch-goal”. If people supported further, I could value add. As a musician, live music features at all my book launches. I posted that any further funds would go to pay the band Greshka the professional rates they warrant. As St Paul wrote, a worker is worthy of his hire.

From the other side of the room at Omega Writers retreat in Toowoomba, Jeanette O’Hagan pledged to tip me to the $4000 exact–a thousand above my target. She typified the ethos of OWI, that writers support each other. Thanks, Jenny.

Crowdfunding stretched me way out of my comfort zone, but this is the first time I have pre-publication orders pre-paid. My Book Whispers pre-press account can be settled at the time, not in instalments. I can afford the printing. (For even POD needs outlay.) Thanks to all who supported. If some were wary of online platforms or preferred the usual book buying means, fine. But the crowdfunding process blew PR trumpets.

For those prepared to work hard, crowdfunding is a viable path. 
Thumbs up. Like.

Burn My Letters will launch on 13 August in Brisbane and at Byron Bay Writers’ Festival the weekend before.

RUTH BONETTI is author of a dozen publications. Her coming releases are Burn My Letters in July and Midnight Sun to Southern Cross in October. More info at her website and crowdfunding campaign.

Facebook: Ruth Bonetti
Burn My Letters: Karl Johan Back


  1. Wow Ruth! Congratulations on your prolific writing. Didn't realise you had published so many books. It's wonderful how your crowd funding campaign worked out and delivered the goods. Love the titles of your two latest books. All the best with them!

  2. Congratulations, Ruth. And also, wonderful you and your book will be at the Byron Bay Writers Festival - well done.

    1. Well, that's a stretch of faith. I've applied for a spot at the BBWF Self-publishing Marquee, and haven't heard back yet (too soon). But as the book radiates from Byron Bay, I think it's got a good chance.

  3. Well done, Ruth--congratulations, for sure. I love it how you drew on all your networks to get there, including your son and his own experience. I hope the launch day will be a wonderful time for you of seeing how all your perseverance and hard work has paid off.

    1. As you know, Jo-Anne, so much sweat, tears, maybe blood go into a book. But I start to feel like Genesis 1, looking at it and it's GOOD!

  4. Congrats Ruth and well done. It's encouraging to see how crowd-funding can work. Thanks for sharing our experience.

    1. And thank you, Jeanette, and others of this group, who supported and encouraged.

  5. Like Anusha, WOW was the first response that came to mind. Congratulations on being so brave and diligent, and I hope you will get that Marquee at the BBWF and have a great presence there. Also, thanks for giving us the run-down of the crowd funding process; very interesting. I have never considered this option.

    1. I certainly resisted the option and would have passed if my son hadn't encouraged and helped. Now I'm suggesting it to another son to record his band. And I'd do it again, but only if can allow time to put to it.

  6. WOW Ruth your diligence is something else. I had never though of using Crowd Funding as I thought it was more for charities and mission. Have to have a look at the possibilities. Any congratulations on your efforts and the results.

  7. Thank you for sharing Ruth. Very brave to put yourself out there and hard work indeed. So good to see that it paid off. Congratulations!